Centre for the Arts
Hunter Street, Hobart
Exhibition 16 October – 7 November 2004
John Aslanidis, Paul Boam, John Dunkley-Smith, Neil Haddon, Jon Plapp and Wilma Tabacco.
Prologue: Paul Zika, Essay: Ona Kaukenas
20-page catalogue: ISBN 0 86295 205 1
Prologue from catalogue
A recent re-viewing of Piero della Francesca’s Flagellation (in Urbino’s Palazzo Ducale) reinforced the centrality of the pursuit of illusionistic space within the tradition of western painting. While Piero refined classical notions of perspectival picture-making, he instilled considerable drama into his images and there is a metaphysical resonance to his work. It is that combination of reason and emotion that has had a profound and broad impact upon twentieth century painting. His influence cuts across the artificial boundaries of Modernism’s simplistic paraphrasing of Nietzsche’s Apollonian and Dionysian currents. The starting point for this exhibition was seeing a substantial selection of John Dunkley-Smith’s The Scenic Railway series in Melbourne in 2000 (ten years after they were originally exhibited), and the most recent catalyst was a newspaper article by Ashley Crawford on the painter Stephen Bram. I have gone back to Paul Boam’s Op-art paintings of the seventies and combined them with recent works that continue research with geometry and colour. The painters in this exhibition all employ “hard” geometry – either planar or linear – to construct pictorial space. While feigning the order and clarity of mathematics, the space is not fixed or rational. The sensory impact and dazzle of colour compounds the spatial ambiguity. These paintings draw us into a disorienting space and into ecstasy – we are unable to escape this intoxication; unable to fix our physical location. Enjoy the ride! Paul Zika